George Mason University
Approved Minutes of the Executive Committee Meeting
July 17, 2003


Present: J. Bennett, L. Brown, P. Buchanan, R. Coffinberger, M. De Nys, E. Elstun, D. Kuebrich

Chair Jim Bennett opened the meeting at 2:12 pm.

I. Approval of Minutes
The Minutes of the May 7, 2003 Executive Committee meeting were approved as distributed.

II. Announcements
Pat Sperry, Program Officer/Center for Global Education, filed a complaint with the Faculty Senate. Since she is not faculty, she was advised to report to the Staff Senate.

The Chair had lunch with the Provost to suggest feasibility studies be done on recitation sections and faculty study leaves at GMU. The Provost appointed Dave Rossell to conduct these feasibility studies and report to the Faculty Senate in the fall.

Mr. Sidney Dewberry has been reappointed to the GMU Board of Visitors. Three new members were also appointed: Mr. William Johnson, Commissioner of the Revenue for Fairfax City; Mr. Knox Singleton, President and CEO of Inova Health Systems; and Mr. Byron Marchant, Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and CAO of Black Entertainment Television.

The GMU Foundation is considering a “tax” on money brought in to the University by faculty and deans to cover their $600,000 deficit. The Executive Committee believes this idea will not be acceptable to faculty and deans.

CVPA Dean Reeder is considering a “Cheap Seat Program” that would allow faculty members to buy tickets the day of performances at far below market price.

Susan Trencher is heading up a Task Force to create a faculty lounge in the Johnson Center. The Task Force met with Maurice Scherrens, and he has agreed to provide funds.

Chief of Staff Hennessey has requested a Faculty Senate representative on the search committee for a new University Equity Officer. Rick Coffinberger will serve.

The nursing faculty has a serious concern that the appointment of a physician as their Acting Dean will affect CNHS’s accreditation. It was noted that this is not the first time a person has been appointed as dean or chair of a department in which they have no experience, expertise, or knowledge of the field’s culture. This situation seems to be happening more often than necessary at GMU, and is in violation of the pre-eminence of peer judgment emphasized in the Faculty Handbook and by the AAUP. It was suggested that the Provost’s Office and the Faculty Matters Committee jointly develop procedures and parameters for appointing persons from one field to head a school or department of another field. The Executive Committee will meet with the Provost to discuss this issue.

To further the Senate’s emphasis on accountability, the Executive Committee is considering the possibility of Faculty Senate sanctions against administrators who violate policies and procedures. Possible actions would include: recommending against raises for sanctioned administrators, noting the sanction in the Faculty Evaluation of Administrators report, and asking the sanctioned administrator to come before the Senate to explain his or her position.

III. Old Business
There was no old business.

IV. Reports from Senate Standing Committee Chairs
A. Academic Policies

Esther Elstun noted that Susan Trencher has agreed to serve on the Committee next year.

B. Facilities & Support Services & Library
Lorraine Brown expressed concern that Library and Bookstore issues will fall through the cracks when this Committee is dissolved next year. Even though the charges concerning these two facilities have been transferred to the new Budget &
Resources Committee, it is feared that the Committee will be consumed by the budget problems and other issues will be neglected.

C. Faculty Matters
Marty De Nys announced that the Committee met today to divide up labor on the Faculty Evaluation of Administrators report. The Committee will work with Institutional Assessment and try to get the report together in the next 2-3 weeks. It was noted that there should be further discussion on how the use the report and its data in more ways than just distribution to the faculty.

D. Nominations
Rick Coffinberger requested that nominations for Senate Standing Committees be sent to him within the next two weeks.

E. Organization & Operations
The Committee will focus on reviewing the Senate seat allocation process next year.

F. Budgets & Resources
Rick Coffinberger met with Jeffrey Brandwine concerning the use of the Freedom of Information Act to obtain University budget information that the Committee was unable to get last year.

V. New Business
A. President Merten’s letter on Library Governance

President Merten stated in his letter that he is creating a Library Task Force, but it will consist of all administrators. The Chair will report on President Merten’s letter at the first Senate meeting, and request that Lorraine Brown be appointed as the faculty representative on the new Library Task Force.

B. AY2003-2004 Meeting Schedules
Due to time constraints, this issue will be addressed at the next meeting.

C. Reorganization of Senate Standing Committees
The Chair suggested that the O&O and Nominations Committees be merged into the “Nominations & Operations Committee.” He also suggested that the charges of the Faculty Matters and Academic Policies Committees be divided due to their heavy workloads, and a new committee be created to handle the teaching and research issues. The suggestions prompted much debate, including discussion of the Executive Committee’s role. It was argued that the Executive Committee seems to be taking on more and more work that used to be done by other committees. This takes responsibility away from other committees and insulates the Executive Committee from the Senate and the faculty at large. In response, it was noted the Executive Committee is the best prepared to forward the Senate’s role in university governance. It was suggested that asking for release time for Executive Committee members might be a better solution than reallocating the workload. The Committee members agreed to review the charges of the existing Senate standing committees and give suggestions to the O&O Committee (since it is charged with overseeing the committee structure).

VI. Adjournment
The meeting adjourned at 3:50 pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Debi Siler
Clerk, Faculty Senate

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